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Panufnik: Messages / Chilingirian String Quartet


Release Date: 09/16/2010 
Label:  Conifer   Catalog #: 16190   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Andrzej Panufnik
Performer:  Levon ChilingirianSimon Rowland-JonesCharles SewartPhilip De Groote,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although Andrzej Panufnik's three string quartets are relatively late works, the second of them—subtitled Messages—is actually a delayed musical reaction to a childhood experience. Even at the age of seven, Panufnik was fascinated by the musical potential of non-musical sounds; he would press his ear against a telegraph pole and listen "to sounds produced by the poles vibrating in the wind" (Panufnik's own description)--a radical metaphor, surely, for the principles underlying the construction of stringed instruments. No wonder he allotted his "fantasy-poem" to a quartet, the ideal medium for expressing high-reaching sonorities and relentless tonal squabbling. While the Second Quartet (1980) recalls the outdoor Read more nocturnals of Bartok and Szymanowski, the First—a product of 1976—opens with urgent, strongly differentiated chatter. But at 312" (track 1), Panufnik switches to luminous, long-breathed lines; subdued, shifting and rising (630") to an ethereal height. Like the symphonies, the quartets develop from tiny thematic germs; yet listeners habitually fazed by structural technicalities will find atmosphere to spare, even in the high-energy Postlude.

The Third Quartet was commissioned by the 1991 London International String Quartet Competition and was designed as the test piece. Busy in the extreme, it is cast as five separate 'miniature studies' (and is tracked as such on the CD, although neither booklet nor jewel case admits the fact); it also serves as a concentrated résumé of Panufnik's quartet style. Which leaves the two works for string sextet. The Song to the Virgin Mary was transcribed from an a cappella choral piece of the same name and conjures up something of Dvoák's steadfast, simple piety. The Song opens with a chant in harmonics then (to quote Bernard Jacobson, the author of Conifer's excellent booklet-notes), "weaves through all six voices and passes through all 23 keys", always respectful of its ancient models. "Trains of Thought" was inspired by the hypnotic rhythm of wheels on track and the thoughts suggested by them; it is based on a three-note cell, "constantly rotated and frequently transposed and reflected". But the effect is more like a dream one might have of the train floating off the tracks and careering up into the firmament: the rhythm remains gently insistent, the harmonic language subtle and suggestive. A strong idea, it's also the one work on the disc that I thought might have benefited from a little pruning: eight or nine minutes would surely have been more effective than nearly 14. The Chilingirian Quartet perform well, the sound production is excellent and the notes are both appetizing and informative. A most engaging release and a positive signal, one hopes, that further innovative chamber programmes will be forthcoming from the same source.

-- Robert Cowan, Gramophone [12/1993]
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Strings no 1 "Prelude, transformations and postlude" by Andrzej Panufnik
Performer:  Levon Chilingirian (Violin), Simon Rowland-Jones (Viola), Charles Sewart (Violin),
Philip De Groote (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham, Surrey 
Length: 17 Minutes 5 Secs. 
2. Quartet for Strings no 2 "Messages" by Andrzej Panufnik
Performer:  Simon Rowland-Jones (Viola), Levon Chilingirian (Violin), Charles Sewart (Violin),
Philip De Groote (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham, Surrey 
Length: 19 Minutes 56 Secs. 
3. Quartet for Strings no 3 "Wycinanki" by Andrzej Panufnik
Performer:  Levon Chilingirian (Violin), Charles Sewart (Violin), Simon Rowland-Jones (Viola),
Philip De Groote (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham, Surrey 
Length: 10 Minutes 39 Secs. 
4. Song to the Virgin Mary by Andrzej Panufnik
Performer:  Stephen Orton (Cello), Philip De Groote (Cello), Simon Rowland-Jones (Viola),
Charles Sewart (Violin), Roger Chase (Viola), Levon Chilingirian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964/1970; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham, Surrey 
Length: 10 Minutes 44 Secs. 
5. Sextet for Strings "Trains of thought" by Andrzej Panufnik
Performer:  Stephen Orton (Cello), Philip De Groote (Cello), Levon Chilingirian (Violin),
Charles Sewart (Violin), Simon Rowland-Jones (Viola), Roger Chase (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham, Surrey 
Length: 13 Minutes 36 Secs. 

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